I bought a book yesterday. Now that might not seem like a big deal to you, but it was to me. It is the first time in almost four months that I have actually bought a book, and by book I mean one of those thick things made out of paper and glossy cardboard. When I invested in a Kindle last December I decided to give it a decent trial period, imagining that it would take some time to get used to the transition from parchment to pixel. However, I was surprised how easy the change was, Kindles are sturdy little things that can be tucked in almost any available pocket. When you fell asleep at night they always remember the page you were reading and these days the range of titles you could buy is enough to keep any bookworm burrowing. Whilst some of the digital offerings were annoyingly expensive, Amazon did a daily deal where you could graze the genres for just 99p a bite. You could download first chapters free and carry a library around with the ease of an elephant. All praise the mighty Kindle!
I recall once reading that the majority of vegetarians who had fallen off the wagon, did so when they had unexpectedly come upon the smell of a bacon sandwich. And yesterday was a bacon sandwich moment for me - whilst undergoing the misery of "shopping" with the GLW, I passed a bookshop. I have been in bookshops since the Kindle Epiphany, but simply to browse, to research downloading possibilities. I had found the experience somewhat grubby and unsatisfying, a bit like walking down those back streets in Amsterdam and looking at the ladies sat in the windows. Something happened yesterday, something different. I fell off the wagon, I bought a book. In many ways it is an annoying thing; it wont fit comfortably in my jacket pocket, it gets dog-eared and beer-stained and, I suspect, it will not last for ever. But as I left the shop with my guilty purchase suitably wrapped in a brown paper bag, my heart danced with joy. All praise the mighty book!
Oh, I know what you are all going to say - there is a place in this rich and complex life we lead for both Kindles and, for the want of a better phrase, what we could call, quite accurately, pulp fiction. I am sure it is true and you won't be seeing my Kindle for sale on EBay any time soon. Kindles make good sense; they are easy, practical and good for the environment. But books, real books, pulp fiction, they have sensibility and sensuality and they make the hell of shopping just a little more bearable.